By Rebecca Fox

I’m not good with dramas. I like to watch movies to escape reality and dramas are all about reminding you of the turmoil and awkwardness and unpredictability that is reality. But, only if they’re good. Dramas require an emotional response from the viewer, which can only be achieved through great performances, enhanced by story, music and editing. (don’t quote me I could be missing one). If one or more elements are missing, at best it’s an unexpected comedy, at worst you’ve just wasted time and money that you’ll never get back.

Flight in my opinion delivered. We start off with gratuitous nudity (for me it didn’t add to the story but guys will like it) from flight attendant Katerina Marquez (Nadine Valazquez) and a man, Captain Whip Whitacker (Denzel Washington) who’s about to hit his rock bottom. After a night of drinking and snorting some cocaine, together they take to the skies only for it to go horribly wrong, the plane begins an uncontrolled nose dive. Lot’s of close up shots put you right into the aircraft and you almost feel as if you’re on the flight as it’s going down (seriously my heart involuntarily started pounding faster).

Afterwards, the movie really hits its’ stride and gets into the gritty reality of what life can become. Denzel does an excellent job of bringing you in to the internal struggles with his demons; he’s so good in his denial. John Goodman plays a drug dealer Harling Mays, almost as a comic relief which actually works. Don Cheadle plays Hugh Lang, a criminal attorney sent to help Cpt Whitacker as questions arise about what really caused the plane to crash. He plays a great attorney, not smarmy, not slick, but intelligent and sharp, and in his own way, caring.

Nicole Maggen (Kelly Reilly), a drug addict who we witness goes through a relapse that puts her into the path of Cpt Whitacker. Co-pilot Ken Evans (Brian Geraghty) was a convincingly green pilot whom I would not want flying any plane I’m in. And flight attendant Margaret Tomason (Tamara Tunie), a good friend of Whitackers for several years and Pilots union rep Charlie Anderson (Bruce Greenwood) a long time military buddy who comes back into his life because of the crash. I liked both their performances, they really did great in their supporting rolls; you couldn’t have one without the other.

There is a question of devine intervention and redemption, but I think the movie steers clear of being overly religious. (I could have done without Ken Evans wife, overkill in my opinion and not necessary to the story). Anything more I say will spill the beans on the ending, so I’ll leave you with this; it really is unpredictable, you never quite know what Cpt Whitacker’s going to do until he does it. There are beautiful moments and bittersweet moments that create a powerful, emotional ride that I would recommend to someone who likes a good drama. And, even to people like me, who generally try to avoid them.

4 out of 5 stars.